In "The Bight" by Elizabeth Bishop, explain the imagery and meaning of the poem.

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Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “The Bight” makes uses of vivid imagery to expressive to engage the senses of the reader. The title of the poem indicates a bend or curve in the shoreline which forms a wide bay. Bishop may have been referring to Key West, Florida which she once described as a shoreline of chaos.

Written in the middle of Bishop’s life, the poet addresses her humble life hoping for signs its worth.  Her flawed life turns the poem into a search for a less frenzied approach to life. Employing intense language, Bishop searches in the sea for symbols that relate to her life. 

The images make the poem:

1st image

White, crumbling ribs of marl protrude and glare
and the boats are dry, the pilings dry as matches

When shallow from low tide, the water appears white from the marlstone which contains remnants of crushed shells. Everything is dry from the boats to the pilings because the water is not absorbed in the bight.

2nd image

The little ocher dredge at work off the end of the dock

(The entire section contains 571 words.)

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